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Heating Bills (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Volume 520: debated on Thursday 16 December 2010

22. If he will assess the effect of recent winter weather on the heating bills of the elderly and others in the Newcastle upon Tyne Central constituency. (30987)

Local area energy data are produced on an annual basis covering all homes in a local area. As such, it is not possible to assess short-term changes in energy consumption by specific household types. However, the latest information suggests that eligible households in the Newcastle upon Tyne Central constituency have received between one and three cold weather payments so far this winter.

This week, Eaga—the green energy company that is headquartered in Newcastle—placed 1,400 people on notice of redundancy as a direct result of the 70% cuts to the Warm Front programme that the Government have implemented. Considering 18% of Newcastle constituents live in fuel poverty, will Newcastle not suffer twice over as a result of the Government’s approach to fuel poverty?

I am very sorry to hear about the redundancies at Eaga. That is very regrettable. Eaga still has to fulfil about 70,000 jobs this winter, between now and the end of the financial year. However, we need to get more investment into the energy efficiency sector in the long term, which means opening it up to the private sector and getting in billions not hundreds of millions. The green deal is the way forward to achieve that.